Friday, February 1, 2013

Five Medical Students Match Early in Competitive Residency Programs

From left to right: Shae Widick matched in ophthalmology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, Ark.; Elizabeth Keeble matched in ophthalmology at UAB; and William Gannon matched in ophthalmology at UAB.
Russ Terry (left) matched in urology at the University of Florida, and Tyler Wood (right) matched in urology at The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. 
Five medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently found out they matched in early match programs – three students in ophthalmology and two students in urology.

The majority of medical students go through the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to find out where they will be doing their residency training following graduation, but students who wish to match in ophthalmology and urology participate in a specialty match program that takes place months before Match Day on March 15.

According to Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean of medical education and student affairs, both ophthalmology and urology are extremely competitive residency programs.

“In 2012, there were 784 applicants for the ophthalmology match for only 461 spots. In urology, there were 481 applicants for only 278 spots,” Dr. LeDoux said. “We are extremely proud of the three students who matched in ophthalmology and the two students who matched in urology. Their success speaks to the quality of students who choose to come to our medical school and to the quality of their training once they are here.”

Elizabeth Keeble, who matched into UAB’s ophthalmology program, said the university was her first choice.

“UAB has the only ophthalmology program in the state of Alabama, which afforded me the ability to be close to my family,” said Keeble, a native of Lanett, Ala.  “I also rotated at UAB last year and really fell in love with their program, the residents and the faculty.”

Before entering medical school, Keeble worked as an ophthalmic technician in a retina practice for four years – her first exposure to the field of ophthalmology.

“I wanted to keep an open mind as to what type of physician I would become as I entered the clinical years of medical school,” she said. “After third-year rotations, I still hadn't found a specialty I liked more than ophthalmology.”

Keeble, who will graduate in May, will be the first physician in her family.

William Gannon, who also matched at UAB in ophthalmology, said he knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a doctor. “When I was little I used to go to work with my dad, an ENT in Dothan,” he said. “I even had a nametag that read ‘William Gannon, Special Assistant.’”

Gannon’s dad was a mentor for him throughout medical school, encouraging him every step of the way. “He’s very excited with what I’m doing,” he said.

When Gannon found out he matched, he said he was shocked and then relieved that the search was over. “Right now I’m in the excitement phase,” he added. “I’m glad my dreams of being an ophthalmologist are coming to fruition.”

Shae Widick, a native of Oxford, Ala., matched in ophthalmology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock, Ark. “I was ecstatic when I found out I matched,” she said. “UAMS was at the top of my list due to the people, facilities, and location.”

Widick said her medical education at USA will help guide her through her residency. “I had lots of hands on experience and worked with great people at USA,” she said. “I am grateful I attended medical school here because it gave me confidence by allowing me to be on the front lines of patient care and initial therapy.”

Widick said she chose ophthalmology partly because she understands that losing your vision is very incapacitating and frustrating. “The ability to change that for someone will be incredibly rewarding,” she said.

Keeble, Gannon, and Widick will start their ophthalmology residencies in July 2014.

Also this year, two USA College of Medicine students matched in urology – Russ Terry and Michael Tyler Wood.

Terry, a native of Mobile, matched in urology at the University of Florida.

“The University of Florida was my first choice because it is a great university-associated hospital system with a strong academic focus,” Terry said. “They have a great surgical case volume, devoted faculty and departmental leadership, as well as friendly residents.”

Terry said he’s always had a passion for science, and his research and extracurricular experiences as an undergraduate steered him to urology.

“I was especially drawn to the extensive integration of technology into the daily activities of urologists,” he said. “Urology provides the unique opportunity for lifelong follow-up with your patients.”

Terry said his knowledge and skills from his time at USA will serve him well as a surgical intern and urology resident.

“Medical students here are so fortunate to have a high-quality basic science experience as well as a practical experience in the patient-care arena,” he said. “In the hospitals we are given opportunities to shoulder responsibilities and perform on a functional level in ways that I don't think occur at many other schools. The end result is that our graduates begin their internships with an unshakable knowledge foundation and a plethora of practical experience which allows them to really hit the ground running.”

The second urology residency match this year was Tyler Wood. Wood matched at The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., where he became familiar with the program during rotations in 2012.

Wood said he was thrilled and relieved when he found out he matched and said he had great support from the USA faculty, as well as his classmate Terry who he collaborated with on the process.

“Russ and I took a team approach and really made a point to help each other throughout the process,” Wood said. “I know we both feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of one of the most rewarding fields in medicine.”

Wood said that the biological sciences have always been fascinating to him, and the opportunity to impact others' lives in a positive way inspired him to pursue medicine.

“The hard work of removing a kidney stone or tumor often results in immediate improvement in both the patient’s condition and quality of life, which I have seen both from the perspective of the health care provider and from the perspective of the son of a cancer survivor,” he said.

Both Terry and Wood will begin their urology residencies on July 1, 2013.

The remainder of the USA College of Medicine Class of 2013 will found out where they matched on Match Day, March 15, 2013. The event will take place at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in downtown Mobile.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Family Medicine Employee is Featured Artist at USA Baldwin County Campus

Click on the image above to view larger.
Clare King, project manager for an HRSA grant in the University of South Alabama department of family medicine, will be the featured artist at the USA Baldwin County Campus for the month of February.

A reception will be held for King during the Fairhope Art Walk on Feb. 1, 2013, from 6-8 p.m. The reception will take place at 10 N. Summit St. in Fairhope, Ala. The USA Jag Tran will be available to transport patrons to and from.

King, who was raised in Oak Ridge, Tenn., received a bachelor of science degree in secondary education language arts from USA. She returned to Tennessee to teach and later returned to USA to earn a master of science degree in instructional design and development.

She has worked in the family medicine department at USA for the past 10 years, where she has designed web-based instructional resources, designed and maintained databases and carried out instructional grant goals pertaining to community outreach.

King is currently project manager for a five-year HRSA grant that continues the effort to expand medical care to at-risk seniors outside the traditional clinic setting.

To view some of King's watercolors and sketches, visit

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Volunteer Opportunity: Tree Planting

Several flags line Mobile Street Wednesday, marking the spot where trees will be planted this weekend as part of the community beautification effort.
Volunteers are needed to plant 125 trees on Mobile Street between Springhill Avenue and the University of South Alabama Medical Center on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, from 8 a.m. until noon.

The tree planting is in partnership with Keep Mobile Beautiful and is part of the beautification effort organized by Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson and the USA Health System. Business leaders and residents from the Crichton community, as well as city and county officials, met at the USA Medical Center on June 1, 2012, to initiate a community effort toward beautification of the neighborhood, particularly Mobile Street.

Volunteers will meet at Williams Chapel at the corner of Mobile Street and Hayles Street and will need to bring gloves, as well as a shovel or rake.

Refreshments will be provided. If you are interested in helping, call Denise at 208-6029 to RSVP.

Next Week's DSS - Dr. Mark Bevensee

The next Distinguished Scientist Seminar at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will feature Dr. Mark O. Bevensee, associate professor of cell, developmental and integrative biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The lecture will take place Feb. 7, 2013, at 4 p.m. in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium on USA’s main campus.

Dr. Bevensee’s research focuses on the cellular and molecular physiology of intracellular pH (pHi) regulation and acid-base transport in tissues such as the brain, heart and kidney.

Dr. Bevensee received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the laboratory of Dr. Walter F. Boron in the cellular and molecular physiology department at Yale University. His postdoctoral work was also done at Yale under the direction of Dr. Boron. Dr. Bevensee joined the faculty at UAB in 2000.

Dr. Bevensee is a member of the American Physiological Society, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, and the Society for Neuroscience.

To learn more about Dr. Bevensee’s research, click here.